Brentford vs Fulham
England - Championship 2019-2020. Aug 4th.
Closing odds - money line
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The End of a Very Long Road
It's been a season that has lasted longer than any other. August 4 sees the English football season finally end with the Championship play-off final at a deserted Wembley. It's not the way we expected the season to end but Brentford and Fulham will be hoping it will be them who make it into the Premier League.
For Brentford, it would be an historic win as they have never played in the Premier League. They have already spurned two golden chances to reach the top-flight. A win in either of their last two regular season matches against Stoke and Barnsley would have won them automatic promotion.
Both of those games were lost and that sent them into the play-offs. When they lost the first leg away to Swansea City 1-0, the alarm bells must have been ringing. Three defeats in a row were in danger of ending their promotion dreams. Wednesday's second leg saw them turn their season around with a 3-1 home win taking them to Wembley. It won't just be a first season in the Premier League but a first in their new stadium.
Brentford had won eight straight league games before the three consecutive defeats. Wednesday saw them return to that winning form and it was important for them that top scorer Ollie Watkins was back on the scoresheet. Three goals was welcome too, after scoring just twice in their last four matches. Backing Watkins to score in this game could well be a winner.
The two league games played against Fulham this season will give Brentford plenty of encouragement. They beat them 1-0 at home and 2-0 away. In that victory at Craven Cottage, the game was goalless going into the 88th minute Brentford have only lost one of their last ten games against Fulham, six of those encounters saw both teams score.
An Immediate Return?
Fulham also had a chance to win automatic promotion but could only finish fourth in the table. They were only behind Brentford on goal difference and two behind second placed West Brom. If they'd won one of their league games against Brentford, they'd now be in the Premier League.
The Londoners are looking to become a yo-yo team. They won the 2017/18 Championship play-off but spent just one season in the top flight. Now they bid to again win at Wembley and make an immediate return to the Premier League.
They have had a strong finish to the season with five wins and two draws. That secured them a play-off semi-final against Cardiff City that they won 3-2 on aggregate. It was the reverse situation that Brentford found themselves in. Fulham won the away leg 2-0 but then lost 2-1 at home. They went 1-0 down after just eight minutes but equalized just a minute later. A Cardiff goal two minutes into the second half tested Fulham's nerves but they held on for the win.
Top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic hasn't scored in the last three games, perhaps he's due one at Wembley. Neeskens Kebano is the in-form player though with goals in each of his last three matches. A bet on him to score at Wembley could well be a winner.
There's little to choose between these two sides. Brentford will have had their confidence restored by Wednesday's win. A bet on them to win and both teams scoring looks the one to make.